Country Life Today: Baby Archie’s ‘secret godparents’ and the truth about the sharks off Devon

This morning's news round-up looks at the royal christening, the National Trust's bold stance, good news for cyclists and bad news for those wanting to spot sharks in Devon.

A (royal) family affair

HRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are having their son Archie christened this weekend, and they’re keeping it a strictly private affair. A few photographs will be released later in the day, but beyond that there will be no other coverage. Even the names of the godparents are to be kept private.

A source told the Daily Mail that the godparents are ‘friends of theirs, close and old friends, who are private citizens and the couple want to honour that.’

HRH Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose for a photo with their newborn baby son in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle on May 8, 2019. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / AFP /Getty Images)

Archie in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle on May 8, 2019. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / AFP /Getty Images)

Needless to say, the Mail couldn’t leave it at that and respect those wishes, they launch into wild speculation about who the ‘secret godparents’ might be — read it if you must, but be warned that anyone who has ever been photographed with one of the Sussexes might find themselves name-checked.

Mind you, the Mail are positively constrained compared to the headline writes at the Daily Express (‘Meghan Markle son Archie’s godparents REVEALED after huge clue dropped?’)  the Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, contents itself with a ‘where, when and everything you need to know’ article.

Full stories at the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Telegraph


National Trust to dump its investments in fossil fuels

Plas yn Rhiw - National Trust

Plas yn Rhiw is one of the many homes and gardens run by the National Trust

The National Trust is to get sell the £45 million of shares it holds in oil and gas companies, according to The Guardian. The organisation, which has a £1bn investment portfolio that helps fund its operations, said it will ‘withdraw the vast majority of its investments from fossil fuels within 12 months, and the entirety within three years.’

‘We know our members and supporters are eager to see us do everything we can to protect and nurture the natural environment for future generations,’ said National Trust boss Hilary McGrady.

Full story (The Guardian)


Fox hunting ‘to be legalised’ if Hunt wins

 A red fox

Fox hunting is the subject of Jeremy Hunt’s latest gambit, as he bids to win over the 160,000 Conservative party members who get to choose the prime minister for the 64 million inhabitants of the United Kingdom.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph he’s called it ‘part of the countryside’s heritage’ and promised to legalise it — or at least to try — should be win the leadership. It’s also, of course, a great example of nominative determinism — the odd phenomenon which sees people’s names becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Full story (Daily Telegraph)


Myth busted: Proof that cycle lanes don’t make pollution worse by clogging up traffic

View this post on Instagram

Morning Sun

A post shared by Dan Matthews (@danmatthews_uk) on

For years, nay-sayers have been claiming that cycle lanes in cities actually increase pollution, since they contribute to motor traffic congestion. Those grumblers have been proven wrong: records show that Upper Thames Street, which was one of the most fume-choked roads in London, has been far clearer since its cycle lane opened.

‘For the past couple of years it’s the first time where that [road] has been within legal limits on an average basis,’ Will Norman, London’s cycling and walking commissioner, told The Times. ‘There is this myth that cycle routes cause pollution, but even on the biggest and the most-used cycle lane in the country, air quality has improved.’

Full story (The Times — subscription required)


And finally… Great White sharks in Devon? A warning not to believe everything you see in the papers

Great White Shark – photographed absolutely nowhere near Devon whatsoever.

Great White Shark – photographed absolutely nowhere near Devon whatsoever.

The Daily Mail reports that ‘fisherman claim to have spotted Great White sharks off the coast of Britain’. It’s a terrifying thought that the species made infamous by the Jaws films might be bobbing around in the waters around holiday spots such as Torquay and Paignton.

To bolster their report, the paper carries a quote from local fishing tour operator called Ashley Lane, who says: ‘Great White Sharks are there now, I’m sure of it. I’ve not seen one myself but I do speak to a lot of fisherman who say they have.’

Now, this may or may not be true. But it turns out that Mr Lane’s quote was given a year ago to a different news outlet, in a report that spoke about warming waters amid last summer’s heatwave.

So if there really are ferocious man-eaters in British waters, they’ve been extremely well behaved indeed for the past year or so.

Read more (Daily Mail)